Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Bit of a Ramble


 Mystery bug on white mist flower

This summer has been mostly kind to my garden. Despite the bunnies and various fungal diseases, it's been a good season. I have two big projects underway for the fall that involved removing a lot of grass and bringing in about 600 lbs of rocks that I slowly hauled myself. But right now the rock pile and naked soil are simply accessories to a happy garden.


Toad lily take over by the Big Daddy rain barrel


These were given to me by a friend and I have no idea what the cultivar's name is. They thrive in bright, moist shade. I love how weird the flowers are.


Despite still suffering from black spot, my 'Graham Thomas' rose has made a come back and is covered in flowers. Yay! This late fall/early winter, I'll be implementing my Rose Rescue Plan to reduce black spot in my garden.


This picture is too bright, but shows my light pink crape myrtles in full bloom.


Pink and frothy, crape myrtles grow across the southeast.


A friend gave me a chunk of blue mist flowers that she dug out of her meadow. They're tough and have spread across my garden but I don't mind. They planted themselves in my rain garden and have thrived so well I'm adding more seedlings this fall.


This is the same plant as the top photo, just in blue. I like them both.



I bought this as a half dead zinnia that seemed like it just needed a little love. A lot of water and fertilizer later, it's filled out and is covered with these cool orange flowers. The older the flower, the greater the difference in color saturation between the edges of the petals and the interior. I'm going to save some seeds and grow these again next summer.


Believe it or not, these 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia grow in half day shade. The mountain mint in the back is taking over and I've decided to give it free reign. Whatever I plant next to it will always have to fight for space, anyway. The mountain mint is easy to grow and is much loved by the pollinators.


Verbena and oregano


I winter sowed these malva 'Zebrina' and they're thriving in the rain garden. They were badly chewed by the bunnies but have made a fabulous come back. I'm planning on growing them again next year.


Mason bee covered in pollen


'Blue Fortune' agastache and the trumpet creeper


I am enormously talented at killing all purple sedum. I've managed to keep this one alive the whole summer by just ignoring it. The bees are grateful.


These 'Button Box' zinnias were supposed to be a foot tall but are almost two feet tall instead. No worries! They bloom non-stop and are super easy to grow. All of my zinnias have surprised me this summer, which I think is a bit funny.


Zinnias and tomatoes on a windowsill


I was playing around with the exposure when I took this picture. I love the way it turned out. I almost looks like I knew what I was doing instead of clicking buttons like a monkey.

78 comments:

  1. You do have a happy garden. You grow two plants that I couldn't keep alive -- Goldsturm rudbeckia and that pretty Zebrina mallow. Yours are so good looking, I'm glad to see them here. In that last photo you have given the sturdy little zinnias such a look of elegance -- nicely done!

    (I am dying to hear what your project is that involves 600 lbs. of hand carried rocks)

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    1. I doubled the size of my rain garden and hauled in about 15 bags of rocks from Lowe's plus I moved 450 lbs of rocks that I bought from our stone center and carried home in the back of my car. I used the wheelbarrow to move all the rocks. I'm not done with that project yet. I have to wait until fall to start transplanting everything. But last years dryness combined with this years moisture has given me a really solid idea of where to plant everything so they're happy. My riverbed now has a big sexy curve in it. Very Marilyn Monroe! :o)

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  2. Your garden is looking really happy (and healthy). You've inspired me to try zinnias her this summer. If I can grow them half as well I'll be happy.

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    1. Zinnias are really easy. They are super easy to start from seed and love moist, fertile soil. Keep them pinched for a full, well branched plant. :o)

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  3. I like your mist flower. I have not been successful with that plant, perhaps where I put it there was not enough moisture. The Zebrina mallow looks really good. Zinnias are a favorite of mine, but I like to plant all orange ones.

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    1. I like orange flowers, too. Next year I'm thinking of growing 'Oriole' zinnias. They are are really big and super orange. Maybe I'll have a traffic cone garden. :o)

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  4. Tammy, I see you have many kind friends who give you many nice plants! I love the yellow rose and the blue mist flowers, your August garden is full of blooming plants. The last photo is great, despite on the way it turned out!

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    1. Thanks! The blue mist flowers reseed all over the place but I love them so much I don't mind. I always have seedlings I can use in different places in the garden.

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  5. Nie to jak zadowolony i szczęśliwy ogrodnik. Ma powody, bo ma ogród pełen slicznych kwiatów. Pozdrawiam.
    Not as pleased and happy gardener. Has reason because it has a garden full of lovely flowers. Yours.

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  6. Monkeys take GREAT pictures!!!
    Your garden looks really good despite going through some trials and tribulations. Your rose will be okay.

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    1. I think my roses will be ok, too. I have a good feeling about the Rose Rescue Plan. :o) I've learned all my photography skills from monkeys. They're the best teachers.

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  7. I'm pleased that, overall, this summer has been good to your garden. You have some lovely flowers in bloom. The myrtle is beautiful and I love rudbeckias; I've plans to plant more here. I love the photos of the bees, too especially the mason bee tucked into the petals and covered with pollen.

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    1. I bet malva 'Zebrina' would grow very well for you as long as it has enough moisture. It's very easy to grow from seed and is so pretty. It's actually a perennial but is so short lived it's sometimes considered an annual. Our summer weather here is unpredictable so I'm very grateful for the mild weather and extra rain we've had. It makes up for the years that are brutally hot and dry.

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  8. Verbena and oregano. Now that's an inspired combination. Throughout, summer's loving your garden. Enjoy.

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    1. The oregano is in a pot that's a bit shorter than the verbena pot so the verbena drops in to visit. I like to think they enjoy each others company. :o)

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  9. Everything looks wonderful - even your rose! I'm a tricyrtis fan too. How on earth did yours survive the rabbits? My rabbits adore tricyrtis. As for the mystery bug, it looks like a spotted cucumber beetle to me. Not that I'm an expert.

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    1. My damn rabbits have such insane eating habits. Some years they devour the toad lilies while this year they've gone after all my asters, heliopsis, 'Deam's' rudbeckia but not the 'Goldsturm', dalea, beans, etc. There was even an article in the Washington Post about the the boom in the bunny population. I read on Masha's blog that roses are much tougher than people realize and I think she's right. Even my Westerland, which still looks horrific, has three small flowers. I'll take your word for the bug ID since it sounds much smarter than "bug". :o)

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  10. How great to see Graham Thomas looking so well, he looked rather sad last time I saw him! I also love tricytris, I used to have a lovely big 'Lemon and Lime' but after a particularly cold winter it didn't come up again. I miss it, think I will get another one - or two! Your garden looks lovely and the photos of your zinnias are beautiful – playing around with the camera often makes good surprises :-)

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    1. Playing is exactly what I do with my camera. If a shot comes out well, it's pure luck. My toad lilies love that spot by the rain barrel so I just let them reseed with abandon. Soon that area will be so packed I'll have seedlings to give away. I wish you lived closer because I'd give you a chunk. :o)

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  11. The crape myrtles are so pretty Tammy. How I wish I could grow them here. After leaving a comment saying I have been lucky not to have to had to deal with black spot, I have it on one of my newer roses and all of my peonies in the front garden. (It has been a great summer, but there have been an abundance of such problems.) Your zinnias are so bright and happy. I must try again to grow some next summer.

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    1. Black spot fungus is an evil beast. The spores overwinter so be sure to clear away all the mulch under the plants and remulch with fresh materials. Zinnias are really easy to grow. But they do have a specific set of demands: lots of bright sun and moist, fertile soil. They're hungry, thirsty sun lovers. :o) They also need to be pinched to keep them bushy.

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  12. Such a lovely, lush garden. But then you are on the coast where you get more moisture. Even the bugs look content. I love the zinnias. They are one of my favorite flowers.

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    1. Thanks! I love zinnias, too. My garden doesn't feel complete without them. :o)

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  13. The toad lilies are so unusual looking and they obviously like your garden. In fact, all of your plants are looking quite content. Zinnias just did not do well for me this year, but yours look great! Nice photos!

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    1. I'd try zinnias again. They like moist, fertile, well drained soil in full sun, although yours might appreciate some bright afternoon shade. I start mine inside and then move them into the garden. It helps me get a jump on summer blooms.

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  14. A great post with tons of information and good ideas, much of which I will unashamedly copy. What a determined girl you are to haul all the rock. You are the little engine that could. Just in case you can't hear it I'm now giving you a round of applause.

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    1. Thanks! I am stubborn and determined. Give me enough time and coffee and I guarantee it will get done. A wheelbarrow helps!

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  15. So many flowers! My garden is sadly deficit by comparison. I especially love that Malva. I remember seeing it once in a garden in Alaska, where it grew huge during their extended summer daylight hours - I'll have to make a point of trying it out next year. I guess I need to start a Summer 2014 wish list...

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    1. I keep a running document on my computer that simply changes in name from Fall Planting Ideas to Spring Planting Ideas. It's where I write down all my notes about plant growth and transplanting ideas. My current doc is about 6 pgs long. I'm definitely growing malva again. I really love it. :o)

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  16. Your garden does look happy and I enjoyed the ramble. The window sill looks especially happy with the cheery zinnias. Mistflower is a great selection for covering large areas.

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    1. I rarely cut my flowers and bring them unless it's a plant the pollinators ignore, like roses. But the zinnias were suffocating a group of geraniums so I ended with a happy little vase full of flowers. I really love mist flower. I even like its name. :o)

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  17. Your toad lillies look so beautiful and seem too tropical to appear out in the open ground. 'Graham Thomas' is indeed one of my favorites and fought through blackspot in my previous garden as well.

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    1. I have a black spot battle plan that I'm implementing this fall that I hope makes a serious dent in the black spot. :o) The toad lilies are unusual flowers, for sure, but that makes them more appealing.

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  18. Your garden looks wonderful. Love the trumpetcreeper over the Agastache, so beautiful. In comparison to your 'field' of Zinnias my few Zinnias look poor. Are these white and blue mistflowers Ageratums?

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    1. Thanks! They are perennials known as Conoclinium coelestinum, which is a mouthfull! They are commonly called blue or white mist flower. They both attract pollinators and are easy to grow in moist soil and bright partial shade to full sun. Zinnias want fertile, moist soil and full sun.

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  19. Your garden is one gorgeous piece of art. That Texas Mist really does spread into other places. It's one of my favorite plants and it goes quickly when sold at the nursery. Zinnias and Blue Mistflowers.....the signs of August!:)

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    1. Oh and those Mistflowers really attract our Queen Butterflies here in Tucson!

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    2. Thanks! I'm hoping it will be much lovelier after I've completed all my transplanting this fall. I love those mist flowers, too. They're so easy to grow. I haven't seen many Queen butterflies here. But we make up for it with swallowtails. :o)

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  20. I'm very taken up with the crape myrtles in your photos and is now determined to nurtuture mine into a tall tree with drooping branches of flowers. Your photos of the pollen-dusted bee is so endearing and so is the yellow ladybug.

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    1. Some crape myrtles are shrubs while others are trees. But even the shrubs can grow pretty large and do well with pruning and shaping. The little green mason bee is so cute. He looked at me like he had just woken from a nap and was having a meal. :o)

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  21. The pollinators must love you! So many wonderful flowers.

    And it looks as though your Button Box zinnias are not even covered with powdery mildew like my (self-sown random) zinnias are. Is Button Box resistant?

    I thought about planting some Mist Flower, but I'm concerned it would spread out of control and I live in the sort of neighborhood where my cottage garden is already an anomaly. Not sure my neighbors would appreciate an overflowing ocean of Mist Flowers (even if I would) ;-)

    Didn't realize that Mountain Mint spreads so aggressively too! Is it easy enough to keep it in bounds by pulling handfuls from time to time. And can you use it like 'real' mint in salads and teas?

    As for the roses, I'm thinking of adding my first roses to the garden this autumn. I did a lot of research this past week trying to find out if anything was immune or resistant to Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) which apparently is becoming a huge problem in Tennessee. The results were not encouraging. The rugosas are supposed to be resistant, but I don't want anything that thorny. I may have found one good candidate in Madame Plantier (https://www.roguevalleyroses.com/rose/mme-plantier)...

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    1. I have zero powdery mildew on my zinnias. They need great air circulation, which helps keep them disease free. So I don't know if they're resistant or not. I would definitely plant some blue mist flower! It spreads but would never be considered invasive. The seedlings are very easy to pull. The mountain mint is also very easy to control. It spreads by runners while the blue/white mist flower is a reseeder. I don't know if the leaves are edible or not. I don't have any RRD here, which is a relief after dealing with blackspot. Madame Plantier looks like a keeper! I might consider her for a tricky spot I have. :o)

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  22. I had to laugh about being talented at killing sedum. I am also talented at this! I've killed a ton of them. I must overwater or something. I think I have one for now. Love those zinnias in the vase at the window. So cheery aren't they?~~Dee

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    1. Zinnias and daisies are pure summer to me. :o) I don't know what it is about those darn purple sedum but they seem fussier than the others. I bought the plant, stuck it in a pot, and ignore it. I didn't even cut it back and it looks like an upside down octopus. The branches are everywhere but I'm convinced the minute I do anything to it, it will die. If it survives the winter, then I'll give it a shaping trim occasionally.

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  23. Oh, they're all so pretty! I love the mist flowers. Need to add those to my list. And your last photo is beautiful. I laughed at your line about clicking like a monkey. I do that, too. It's fun when something turns out pretty!

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    1. Considering I have the photography skills of a monkey, I'm happy when any picture turns out well. :o) I love mist flowers, too. I think they're one of my favorites but don't tell the others. ;o)

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  24. I am surprised about all these talents to kill sedum. I thought you could not kill them. Some of the small ones are a weed here. The big ones spread but, thank God, do not selfseed like the small ones.
    I wish I could grow beautiful zinnias like yours. I used to in my old garden but I think in my present garden the soil is not fertile enough for them.

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    1. In the humid southeast, killing sedum is very easy. We've had a weirdly moist summer, which is usually the death of them. I have several of mine in pots, which gives them the drainage they need in our clay soil. But I love them and keep trying different types. :o)

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  25. Zinnia's are my new favorite bedding plants...we could never grow them on the coast, not enough heat, well it's hot enough here.

    Loving the plants that you have in your garden, do you know that you have about a 100$ worth of toad lily sitting there?

    Jen

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    1. $100? WOW! I actually have twice as much in the garden than is shown in the picture. They are just so happy in that spot that I have more and more each year. I don't do anything to them except water them in dry spells. Zinnias are fabulous. If you have heat, then it's easy to have zinnias. :o)

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  26. You have so many beautiful, different bloomers in your garden, Tammy! Zinnias are my absolute favorite summer flowers this year. Happy Sunday!

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    1. Thanks! Zinnias are one of my favorites, too. :o) Have a great week!

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  27. Love the Crepe Myrtles! Certain varieties are hardy for us in CT and just starting to bloom. The garden gods have been kind this year but I'm itching to start moving plants around. Usually I wait til spring but not this year.

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    1. I'm dying to start my transplanting. I do almost 98% of it in the fall. I've moved a few plants that were struggling but need to wait to move any more and it's killing me. Crape myrtles are just a fun plant. I love them! :o)

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  28. I must say you have plenty of colour in your garden - especially the Zinnias it has been a good year for them this year - I have been picking and picking - and they last so long in a vase don't they - certainly good value for money.

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    1. Zinnias are the best botanical bargain I know of. :o) Plus, they're easy to grow, which I appreciate.

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  29. Oh, I'm jealous of all your Zinnias! I usually plant them, but I took a year off--dang! I miss them! Love the photo of the pollinator in the Malva flower. And, wow, your Crepe Myrtles are healthy!

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    1. Crape myrtles grow so well here. :o) They do seem to love my garden. :o) I think malva would do well for you. It's really easy to grow.

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  30. Oh your Crepe Myrtle is gorgeous!!! And I LOVE Toad Lilies...let me say that I had these growing in my shade garden but they did not come back...I will not stop trying though because I enjoy their blooms too! Your bouquets and blooms are out of this world lady!! And I am itching to see what you have up your sleeve with the rocks?!?!! I know whatever it is it will be beautiful!!!!! Keep us posted!!! And purple sedum is on my list for next year!!!

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    1. The rocks are for my rain garden. I doubled the size of it and the river bed needed more rocks. I think the toad lilies need moist soil that isn't soggy in the winter. I love purple sedum so I'm just hoping mine makes it through the winter. :o) I'm going to do a series of posts this fall showing some of the projects I'm working on in the garden. :o)

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  31. Loved the ramble through your garden Tammy. Do you ever wonder whether Mother Nature knows best in the end? When you leave it up to her she cures most things. She sent a whole load of ladybird larvae to eat the greenfly on my rose bush. I think you are right to let your plants battle it out among themselves. Natures way and it gives you more time to sit back in a chair with a glass of wine and do the real hard work of looking at everything.

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    1. You always make me laugh. :o) Parking my butt in a chair with a glass of wine in my hand is my favorite way to garden. I decided a long time ago that when a plant plants itself somewhere and thrives, I really need to pay attention. I don't worry about bugs as much as disease. There is no natural cure for black spot fungus except to kill the host, which feels a bit barbaric. But ultimately, Mother Nature is in charge and I just try to listen to what she's trying to teach. But I think she has to repeat herself a lot. :o)

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  32. Lovely flowers and pictures. Yes, this year the weather has been fabulous so far in NE and gardens have been good :-).

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    1. Not too many complaints here. :o) August has been dry but that's been okay, too, because it gives me a chance to observe how my plants do in extremely moist as well as dry soil. It's been a good summer for observation and redesign plans.

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  33. dear Tammy, thanks for an enjoyable rambly post. I think my favourite photo is the one of the zinnia and tomatoes on the windowsill. I just love pink and orange combo. And the pollen covered bee - so cute. Those weird flowers, I think, are a variety of orchid.

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    1. The toad lilies do look like orchids but are actually called tricyrtis. They're the closest I'll come to growing an orchid. I did get lucky with those still life photos. :o) I'll take a bit of luck now and then.

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  34. dear Tammy, thanks for an enjoyable rambly post. I think my favourite photo is the one of the zinnia and tomatoes on the windowsill. I just love pink and orange combo. And the pollen covered bee - so cute. Those weird flowers, I think, are a variety of orchid.

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  35. Such a great amount of blooms, I have pangs of envy! I have a pink crape myrtle that is covered in blooms right now too! They make such great trees for the home garden. Jeannine

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    1. Crape myrtles are just a fun tree to grow. The more sun they get, the more flowers they grow. I like how small they are. It makes them easier to work with. :o)

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  36. Replies
    1. I looked it up and you're right! It's a spotted cucumber beetle. It must have been starving because I don't have any cucumbers. :o)

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  37. Hi Casa!
    I wonder what that mystery bug could bee too... maybe a beetle disguised like a ladybug? Who knows. Did he have a heavy make up and fake eyelashes?!
    I'm not a zinnia lover but that orange one looks great, hope the seedlings are going to look alike.
    What does your Rose Rescue Plan consist in exactly? I'm very concerned.
    Alberto

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    1. Black spot fungus has invaded my garden so here's my rescue plan: remove every shred of mulch away from the garden beds my roses are planted in, remove the top inch of soil directly beneath the roses, replace soil with compost, add a very generous amount of my organic fertilizers, and remulch the entire bed. The black spot fungus overwinters in infected soil, mulch and on the canes of the roses. Once hard winter hits, I will prune the roses and spray them with a dormant oil-lime/sulfur spray to kill the overwintering spores. Our humid climate is the perfect breeding ground for black spot so I need to eliminate as many spores as possible in the surrounding mulch, etc.

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  38. I noticed nary a smidgen of rust on your 'Zebrinus' malva. Unfortunately In cannot say that mine is faring as well. I finally pulled them out. It seems like rust is taking over this year. Great photos all the way around.

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  39. Look at your happy garden...gorgeous flowers everywhere. I am planting mountain mint this year but think I will add it to the meadow where it can have lots of room.

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  40. Hi Tammy, your garden looks incredible and has more flowers now than mine does in the middle of summer. I'm happy to see your Graham Thomas rose has recovered, ours is pretty diseased and won't be making a second flowering (it is still pretty young). There's your dahlias too, everyone seems to have gorgeous dahlias and I'm getting very jealous that I don't have a single one. That's something that will want rectifying.

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    ReplyDelete

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